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Observations placeholder

Douglas Coupland - The sudden gain of synaesthesia



Type of Spiritual Experience



Douglas Coupland OC OBC (born December 30, 1961) is a Canadian novelist and artist. His fiction is complemented by recognized works in design and visual art arising from his early formal training. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized terms such as McJob and Generation X. He has published thirteen novels, two collections of short stories, seven non-fiction books, and a number of dramatic works and screenplays for film and television. A specific feature of Coupland's novels is their synthesis of postmodern religion, Web 2.0 technology, human sexuality, and pop culture.

Coupland lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia, with his partner David Weir. He published his twelfth novel Generation A in 2009. He also released an updated version of City of Glass and a biography of Marshall McLuhan for Penguin Canada in their Extraordinary Canadians series, called Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan.

He is the presenter of the 2010 Massey Lectures, and a companion novel to the lectures, Player One – What Is to Become of Us: A Novel in Five Hours. Coupland has been longlisted twice for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006 and 2010, respectively, was a finalist for the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2009, and was nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in 2011 for Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan

And he is a synaesthete.

A description of the experience

Tasting the Universe: A most delectable memoir for those with a curious palate 11 Dec. 2012  By Grace - Published on Amazon.com

Both Dr. David Chalmers, and Douglas Coupland, unlike most synesthetes, know what it is like to live in both a synesthetic and a non-synesthetic world. Chalmers, who suddenly lost his synesthetic abilities at the age of 20, realized that he took his abilities for granted. He now sees the world as a bleaker place and misses seeing the colors in his music.

Coupland, had it the opposite way. Born without synesthesia, he acquired synesthesia after having a tumor removed from his brain. These new sensations leave him nearly paralyzed at times, overwhelming him with colors and emotions coming from nowhere. To the lay person, suddenly having synesthesia can overstimulate them in the most random of situations, in Coupland's case, walking through the ribbon aisle at Michael's.

The source of the experience

Writers other

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Brain tumour


Brain damage